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Blacklane is Germany's Anti-Surge Pricing Answer to Uber

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/16/2015 Megan Stewart

If you find yourself in need of a ride but can't get an Uber or Lyft driver and don't want to pay extra for a taxi, Blacklane offers an alternative. The Berlin-based taxi company currently operates in 186 cities in 50 countries, including the U.S., and employs luxury vehicles to shuttle around its customers.

Blacklane offers three levels of vehilces, including Business Class, Business Van/SUV, and First Class. You'll find yourself relaxing in the back of a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lincoln, Cadillac, or Volkswagen, depending on location. Unlike other app-based ride services, Blacklane offers fixed pricing, whether you're looking for hourly services or a one-way drop-off.

How does it work? Using a reverse Dutch auction, Blacklane drivers bid for fares. Say a trip from the airport to your home will cost the customer a fixed price of $90, the company will offer drivers the opportunity to pick up the fare starting at $30. Some drivers will accept the $30 that goes directly to them, while others may wait for a higher offer. After a certain amount of time with no bids from drivers, Blacklane will increase the offer.

Blacklane Car Service© Provided by MotorTrend Blacklane Car Service

Unlike other app-based ride services, Blacklane doesn't charge different rates depending on demand. That practice, called surge pricing, makes traveling at certain times more expensive for the consumer. Instead, Blacklane lets the driver decide how much a fare is worth to them, and if the payment to the driver is more than the flat-rate fare, the company eats the loss.

This isn't another startup offering part-time work for eligible drivers. Instead, Blacklane works with previously-established, professional transport companies and enables their drivers to sell their free time.

While Uber and Lyft are on-demand services, Blacklane requires booking an hour in advance. The fixed price for customers includes the tip, potential tolls, and the hour of waiting time. A report from Quartz suggests that Blacklane's prices are competitive, making this a viable alternative for customers who don't want to get shafted by surge pricing.

Source: Quartz

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